With the rise of center-left governments, the South American region has—almost universally—appeared to leave behind the pillars of the Washington Consensus and the neoliberal model. Fiscal adjustment has been replaced with an agenda marked by a social emphasis, and the projects related to a free trade area with the United States are veering toward a renewed emphasis on horizontal regional integration.
However, recently some of the elements of the current Latin American context have begun transforming. In addition to the international financial crisis—which has had less of an impact on Latin America than in other regions, but has had an effect on external trade in several countries—the region has seen many new political changes. The persistent coup d’etat in Honduras; the major losses incurred by the Kirchners during the latest elections in Argentina, and the weakening of the government’s position in relation to agribusinesses and the media that followed; the endorsement of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) for Alvaro Uribe to authorize the presence of U.S. troops at seven bases in Colombia, after President Rafael Correa decided not to renew Ecuador’s contract with the United States for its base in Manta, and despite the fact that the bases violate the agreements of the South American Defense Council, to mention just a few. In an interview with CIP Americas Program, Emir Sader, professor, sociologist, and executive secretary of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), explains the roots, repercussions, and possible challenges that these changes present.